"ONLY A VERY SMALL MINORITY CAN PROPERLY CLAIM TO BE SANE": FIRST EDITION OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, 1907, WONDERFULLY INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY MARK TWAIN
TWAIN, Mark. Christian Science. With Notes Containing Corrections to Date. New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1907. Octavo, original red cloth. $13,500.
First edition, first state, of Twain’s satirical diatribe on Christian Science—then a relatively new and rapidly growing religion in the United States—and the religion’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, wonderfully inscribed by Twain, "Only a very small minority can properly claim to be sane. Mark Twain," in answer to a question posed above in an unidentified hand: "This book should live when the delusion is dead. Is there any danger that a majority of the race will become insane?"
"A tour de force of penetrating wit and clean analysis, revealing both his skill in polemics and his disdain for obscure grandiosity and sham spirituality. The work's subject is a natural result of Twain's lifelong fascination with the supernatural" (Le Master & Wilson, 144). Twain's daughter Susy had, like her father, a great interest in "mind cures" and the tenets of Christian Science. Her death from meningitis at the age of 24 may account for the intensity of Twain's attack on Mary Baker Eddy and her religion. Another of Twain's daughters, Clara, was a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist throughout her adulthood until her death at the age of 88. "In it has been my purpose to present a character-portrait of Mrs. Eddy, drawn from her own acts and words solely, not from hear-say and rumor; and to explain the nature and scope of her Monarchy, as revealed in the Laws by which she governs it, and which she wrote herself." This copy with all points in first state, with frontispiece dated 1906,preliminaries with 17 titles on list of "Uniform Editions" on the copyright page, and the list of illustrations on page (iii) set in six lines (including the heading). Without rear free endpaper. BAL 3497. Johnson, 87-89. Occasional inoffensive pencil side lines to text margins.
Tear to frontispiece tissue guard. A fine copy, wonderfully inscribed.